Memories of Days Gone By

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Love these ladies, Morgan and Jamie Grace. They lead us to a place deep inside the “old souls” they know so very well. I’ve had the privilege of serving alongside of them on several occasions. I love watching them “make music” and somehow the “old” HAS become “new” again. Grateful! I pray that you are blessed by their spirit as much as I am!

This song takes me back to a special place, so very long ago…..

My family: Godly men and women who lived a heritage of faith in service as pastors, teachers, musicians, people of conviction and the example of service that I hold dear in my heart to this day. My great-grandmother was the organist at church. My grandmother, her daughter, was a gifted pianist. The old, upright piano she purchased used so long ago, now has a treasured place in my home. Often asked when someone visits, “Why two pianos?”  My reply, The newer piano has provided opportunities to grow musically and meet the financial needs of my family. The old one…The black giant? A reminder to myself and my family that the work of God continues through His faithfulness and should be passed on to the next generation. Three generations of us have either learned to play on the black giant or continue to lovingly play her today.

Fond memories of life and lessons learned while spending time on my great-grandparent’s 200 acre farm down a long and winding dirt road with only two other neighbors. Family joy. Simple people. Simply Living…..in the boondocks!

Pictured memories flash through my mind:

A dozen folks eager to eat at the simple wooden table in the kitchen. The children were seated on a long wooden bench made out of a rescued, fallen tree. I would fondly run my hand down the grain of the well-worn “provision”. We prayed. Not just at meals or bedtime. We PRAYED!! We thanked God for His goodness throughout our day, for the abundance of the good food we ate, for the rains that came just when they were needed, for the Lord to hold back the rain at the precise moment necessary for a successful harvest, etc… The farmer truly knows what it is to live by faith!! And the meals that were made from scratch in that kitchen, were amazing and meant for royalty. Well, that’s the way I saw it anyway. Stacks of biscuits, gravy, fried chicken, fresh vegetables, tomatoes, collard and turnip greens, numerous pies for dessert and all that your mind can dream…Manna, cherished nourishment that comes because “Our faithful God rewards faithful hands.” A surrender to work hard.  A quote worth remembering and spoken often by both Larry and Emma Fisher, my great-grandparents, as a reminder when someone may lack gratitude in any of life’s important moments and especially around the dinner table. :-)They knew how to trust God for everything. And I mean EVERY THING!!!

The days were filled with…..

playing and rolling around on the ground with my great-grandfather’s Coonhounds, watching the guys head off to hunt, quietly listening as the ‘coon dogs got farther and farther away, standing under the Muscadine and Scuppernong grape vines~eating the fat grapes sweetened by the rain and sun until we had a tummy ache, family reunions, tobacco barns, tractors, busting watermelons in the field to make sure that the crop was ripe. And when we did get a break from work, on a hot day, running down the road to the neighbor’s house to cut a bamboo pole, and head over to the pond to go fishing. For the children, we hoped we didn’t get “caught” swimming more than being concerned about  “catching” fish to eat.

A distant place and simpler time….

My  great-grandparents were likely considered “poor”. They worked hard but I more remember the good times after dinner at the last shades of light led to the day’s end. We would sit quietly on the porch, in the cool of the evening and I never remember things being anything other than good. Life was good. We hoped for a breeze, as we fanned ourselves. I can always remember moments in the quiet, when out of nowhere, someone would start singing. We made up songs. They were simple songs, silly songs, old hymns in harmony. It was music. Strings, improvised percussion with hands and feet and a quiet hum would fill the air as someone made melody from their soul. The stories were intense and remember when. So much so, that the children including myself sat intently hanging on every word. We laughed at each others jokes, hoped someone might drop by for a visit and the fun we kids would have dancing, singing and playing until it was almost dark. The days would always end in togetherness. We were truly grateful when we lay our heads down at night to say our prayers.

Some days I wonder why my heart and soul has been filled with so many words? Could those quiet moments in the boondocks have given me a bent for speaking and writing words that build hope, encourage, lead others to trust, to dream, to believe, to know His love by hearing, gathering words, telling a story and faithful living and working hard at it? There are days when I care, share, teach, love, give, serve and reach for someone to love like Jesus would and at day’s end, I am out of words. Then the Lord lovingly and quietly reminds me that He, the author of love, life and promise sent His only Son to this earth with the mission of loving, teaching, leading, inspiring and empowering us with the message of hope and to go, to serve, to tell. Our individual relationships with God have been restored and reconciled with God through the life, death and resurrection of His promise of a Savior. Tell others the good news!! And just as Jesus exampled for us; He spoke of His life, His Heavenly Father, His living, His coming, His dying, His resurrection, ascension and the gift of the Holy Spirit, our Helper. We are here to continue the message of hope to all.

Jesus would come in an unassuming way, live simply among ordinary people, not as a king but a servant to all. His story, God’s Word, His message to us still lives on through His children, long after His Ascension and return to His rightful place, at the right hand of God the Father.

Jesus told stories. Parables, short tales that illustrate universal truths, one of the simplest of narratives. Sketching a setting, describing an action and showing the results. It often involved a character facing a moral dilemma or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences. Though the meaning of a parable was often not explicitly stated, the meaning was  not usually intended be hidden or secret but on the contrary quite straightforward and obvious.

We all have a story. We share our lives with every relationship we build. Words that tell our life’s journey paint a picture of the where we have come from. In our relationship with Jesus Christ, His story becomes ours and we spread the joy of our beginnings while He is still writing, loving, leading, honoring our days and endings until our days on earth are done. Will our children become followers of Jesus Christ as modeled by our example? Will their lives tell of His goodness, shout praises, pray always, word hard, laugh, love others, serve everyone and live a loving, surrendered life in service to the Lord?

I am grateful for words. For the author and finisher of my faith and the privilege to serve Him with all of my days. Lord find me  faithful. May I be first and foremost about the things of God, wherever I am, serving with all of my heart the story that You have written for me and made my heart to do……

Lord, leave our families, those we love and serve the LIFE’S legacy and the WORDS to keep painting our world with YOUR story.

“…the details of our days do make a difference in our lives… no experience is ever just for drill…
everything can be a springboard for inspiration if we are willing to be open to the goodness of life.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Simple Abundance

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out…………The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And He will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord…………..And the Lord will make you abound in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands.” Deuteronomy 28:1-12a

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